What are Pericytes and How Can They Help You Heal?

What are Pericytes and How Can They Help You Heal?

Cells are the basic building blocks of every living thing. There are more than 200 different types of human cells, and your body is home to trillions of them.

Each type of cell has a specific purpose, and the most versatile of them all is the stem cell. Stem cells are your body’s raw material. They can turn into any other type of cell under the right conditions, and this makes them a key piece of your body’s healing process.

In the world of regenerative medicine, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) get a lot of attention. But pericytes share many similarities with MSCs, and they can help you recover from injury in much the same way.

Kristopher Downing, MD, and our team at Upper Extremity Specialists, of Ortho 1 Medical Group, provide lipoaspirate therapy with pericytes, which is a type of regenerative medicine that uses fat from your body to stimulate better healing.

Pericytes and lipoaspirate therapy

When you get injured, your body immediately starts to heal itself. This healing happens on a cellular level, as cells repair themselves and new cells are created to replace those that were destroyed in the injury.

Pericytes are cells found in the inner lining of your blood vessels. They support blood vessel formation and support your body’s natural repair system. Pericytes maintain the structural integrity of your blood vessels and reduce vascular complications when you get injured.

Since pericytes are a type of multipotent stem cell, they can also differentiate into other types of cells — not just blood vessel cells. Pericytes act as messengers that call extra cells to damaged or injured areas to stimulate the healing process.

Pericytes give your body more of the materials it needs to repair damaged tissue and heal from injury. While pericytes are found throughout your body, they’re highly concentrated in fatty tissue.

With lipoaspirate therapy, Dr. Downing harvests pericytes from your own fatty tissue and injects the cells into the site of your injury to accelerate your body’s healing processes.

Injuries lipoaspirate therapy can treat

Dr. Downing specializes in regenerative therapy for a number of orthopedic injuries, including:

If you have an injury that’s limiting your mobility and quality of life, schedule a consultation to find out if you’re a candidate for lipoaspirate therapy. This therapy is a customizable treatment, and since it uses elements from your own body, the risk of side effects is low.

The process of lipoaspirate therapy

With this therapy, Dr. Downing uses a small, hollow needle to extract fat tissue from an area of your body. Then, he processes the tissue to separate the pericytes from the other components of your fat, which results in a highly concentrated serum of pericytes.

He then injects the serum into the part of your body that’s injured. He may use X-ray or ultrasound to ensure the needle is in the right place, but this isn’t always necessary.

The injection takes just a few minutes, and then you’re free to go home. You may notice some inflammation or swelling around the injection site. Any side effects should fade within a few days.

Your body starts using the extra pericytes to regenerate cells right away, but full healing takes time, and it will be several weeks before you notice significant results. Depending on your injury, Dr. Downing may recommend a series of lipoaspirate injections.

Are you ready to see if pericytes might be able to help you heal? Learn more by booking an appointment online or over the phone with Upper Extremity Specialists today.

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